Swimming - The Ideal Exercise

by Pool Builders on 01-28-2013 in Articles

So you want to start swimming huh? Well there could be many reasons for why you'd want to do that. Maybe you're looking for relaxing exercises and you're sick of the weight room, maybe you want to build muscles, maybe you want to lose weight and be more lean, or maybe you want to move that body of yours a bit more and start doing some cardio. In any case, swimming is the ideal solution for all those, but you probably want to know how to start.

Which Swimming Style Should I Do?

There are various swimming styles. We'll focus on the two popular ones: the breast stroke and the front crawl (also known as freestyle):

Let's start with the breast stroke, it's the swimming style which takes up the least amount of energy, but it does indeed work out your back and biceps. Don't forget you'll also be kicking you feet like a frog so a good amount of muscle will be built in your quads as well.

Freestyle swimming takes up more energy but also is a style which makes you more aerodynamic when swimming so you'll be moving much faster than the breast stroke. Freestyle will work out your chest and triceps. Like breast stroke you'll be kicking your legs as well and building muscles in your quads but also your calves.

It's best to mix the exercises and maybe sometimes use only your legs by floating on a kickboard. More importantly don't forget to breath properly! Many rookies make the mistake of exhaling when their head is out of the water. That is a waste of time and can result in fatigue and not inhaling enough. Simply exhale in the water and make sure to inhale when your head is out of the water.

Swimming To Build Muscle?

Swimming to build muscle involves more speed than endurance. You need to remember that the faster you go the more resistance exists and that results in tiring out your muscles and building newer/stronger ones during the rest period. You could swim 3-4 times a week, and do about 5 laps of freestyle, 5 laps of breast stroke, and 3 laps of leg kicks in an olympic size pool. The most important is to swim fast and if you feel tired after a lap take about 1-2 minutes to take a breath since the last thing you want is to blackout in the pool. Furthermore, you could mix it up with a bit of weight lifting exercises, or if you want a more lean look go for a few body weight exercises: finish up your swim and then do 4 sets of pushups, 4 sets of pull ups, and some abdominal workouts. 40 Minutes - Hour and a half of swimming should be enough per workout session (including breaks). Also, don't forget that swimming is a full body workout.

Watch videos which can help improve your swimming techniques before you jump in the pool.

Swimming To Lose Weight, Be More Lean, or Relaxation?

Swimming to Lose weight and get a leaner look involves endurance. This means that right of the bat you should pace yourself. Relax, and make sure your breathing properly. The key here is distance rather than speed. Perhaps go for the less tiring breast stroke but try to go for a 15 laps in an olympic pool and maybe do a few water exercises to lose weight. As much as swimming is a high calorie burning exercise you need to avoid eating fatty foods or at least eat in moderation.

Real Benefits

Don't forget that swimming has it's main benefits aside from just keeping you body nice and beautiful. As opposed to jogging or weight lifting which can lead to back injuries, swimming can actually help improve you posture. It's also the best exercise to keep your heart nice and healthy, along with working out every part of your body from head to toe.

Gear up!

Now before you head over to the pool make sure you've got the right gear. If you're looking to build some muscle pick up some resistance tools (hand paddles, water weights, etc.) and also get a kickboard for your leg exercises. Most importantly get a proper bathing suite and swimming goggles. It's important to be well prepared in the water and you'll see results faster with the help of these tools.

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